Happy Last Day of May. If you’re in college, you’ve probably graduated. If you’re an incoming college student, you’ve probably begun the matriculation process. And, if you’re like my oldest son (SOTB is for the children), you’re getting ready to move from elementary to middle school (or middle to high school). Education is important on SOTB, which is why I feature a wide variety of artists and sounds on the site. Today’s volume 51 of Quickies. The Ichiro edition or the Randy Johnson edition (unless you’re a bird). We’ve got some fire tracks (like Johnson) and some slappers (like Ichiro).
Yes, the Mariners were my go-to team in the ’90s and early 2000s–aside from the Orioles. I was a huge Ken Griffey, Jr. fan. And yes, I know Bernie Williams also wore #51–but I’m an Orioles fan, dammit.
Reid Hosp – “WATCHOUT!”
I love that this one brings to mind “Redbone,” minus
Jordan Peele using it in Get Out to hit you over the head with obvious racial tension Childish Gambino singing “stay woke…niggas creeping.” Thankfully, of course; the brother’s not Black. Nevertheless, the teenaged Boston-born, Brooklyn-residing artist’s vocals are pretty solid and buttery smooth. It also helps that the song’s also got a funk-soul base to it, like “Redbone.”
Emir – “Mayday”
A boombap-esque song that is a “meditation on [the artist’s] relationship with marijuana,” “Mayday” is one of those songs that doesn’t say that drugs are good or bad. Instead, it presents a story, a vibe and truths as Emir sees them (that drugs–weed especially–is whatever you make it). He doesn’t demonize it, nor does he make it out to be a saving grace, either. I’m here for this sort of honesty towards marijuana usage, even though I haven’t partaken in it in years. This is a single from Emir’s Withdrawal Symptoms, which will seemingly delve a bit deeper into his relationship with marijuana and the like.
Anthony Lazaro – “A Million Songs”
I like the throwback vibes of this song, as they blend ’70s pop, modern R&B and a bit of jazzy instrumentation to create an energy of summertime and summer love. Somewhere between Leon Bridges, Amy Winehouse and Bruno Mars, Lazaro finds himself on this song, one that is soulful as it is funky. I also appreciate the genre-blending, as it helps with his goal to “knock down the borders between countries and genres.”
Emilia Zeppelin – “Give Me A Break”
This song, while about Zeppelin’s personal experiences with daily sexisms and the like, isn’t one of those songs that’s meant to make you feel bad about yourself. Instead, it’s meant to make you think about your interactions with people and become better people. I like this one because it’s got a great message (don’t be a sexist scumbag and treat people, especially women, with the respect they deserve) and it’s got a bit of a smooth edge to it on the instrumental side.
Rotem Sivan and Calica – “Leafy”
I got pitched this song as it being written for Rotem’s wedding this past weekend. It’s a love story about how two likeminded people met (through a dating app) and eventually fell in love. It also has a sweet surprise as being the first dance between the newlyweds. When they say that music is love, I think this is also what they mean.
Metri Christ – “Planes”
Another Metri Christ addition to the myth and legend of SOTB.com, “Planes” finds the artist speaking on toxic relationships, putting himself in the shoes of someone who’s going through one. While not a true story for him, it’s a true story for many of us. Written for “those who have experienced pain” from loving toxic people, “Planes” finds the Virginia native’s narrator character waxing poetic about trying to do better within the confines of the story for his own sake. This one appears on Metri’s Before I Wake project (which features “Tables” from Vol. 50 of Quickies).
raynevstheworld – “I Want You”
A mix between alt-pop and alt-R&B, rayne’s “I Want You” kind of sounds like something you would’ve heard Miguel release around his collaborations with artists like Wale. It’s a bit chaotic in some ways, because it’s about a person going through “love for the first time [with] a girl who’s playing hard to get.” It also reminds me a bit of Dominic Fike (yes, Elliot from Euphoria does music IRL–if you didn’t know–and yes, it’s pretty dope and alt-R&B-esque). So if either of those comparisons pique your interests, I feel that this one’s for you.
Soulful Playground and Moka Only – “Super Normal Regular”
I’m a sucker for boombap that samples old videos and the like. I’m also a sucker for introspective hip-hop that speaks on the mundane in a way that makes it feel extraordinary. Both of those things appear on “Super Normal Regular,” a song that’s for the Joe and Janet Everypeople of the world that’s equally a rally cry for us normal average people and a praising of the ordinary as extraordinary. I like this one because it pulls no punches in showcasing that us regular people are actually quite impressive in our own ways. Check it out, for sure.
Coldway – “Plans”
I don’t like using the phrase “it’s a vibe” to describe music, unless it’s a vibe I can get behind. Coldway’s “Plans” is that sort of vibe. It’s light, airy and bouncy–like summer love and just summer as a whole. If you need a pick me up for the week, I think this one’ll get you right. Sonically, it kind of sounds like a mix between John Legend and Pharrell. So if, you know, something’s in the water that makes you wanna vibe out, this will be perfect.
TUBBZ – “Mazes”
A song about sometimes getting stuck in the middle of life, “Mazes” is one of those songs that’ll grab you with its jazzy production and keep you because of its lyricism and honesty. I like this one because we’re all trying to make it out of the rat race–in one way or another–and TUBBZ gets it. The matter-of-factly flow of it all helps hammer the point home. Sometimes, it’s okay to vent about life not giving you a fair shake. That is, as long as you get back up and keep it moving.
Digital Martyrs and Devon Williams – “Colorlines”
I like this song because it speaks on racism in a way that’s honest. Yes, it exists. Yes, people are growing tired of it existing (and, in some ways, talking about it). However, we’ve got to speak on it until things change. The song is “[meant to] highlight and invigorate, from a spiritual perspective, the racial divide that unfortunately seems to have a paradox of unsettling growth while being less and less addressed.” While I think that there are certain things that non-Black people can’t fully understand, I do ultimately wish for a world that isn’t so dang dependent on social constructs.
Kaveman Brown and Eddy I – “Eenie Meenie”
I like this song because it blends smoothed-out beats and double time lyrics (that aren’t just fast for the sake of being fast). Instead, “Eenie Meenie” features both artists flexing their muscles lyrically and just floating over the beat. I don’t really have a comparison except “imagine Busta Rhymes over Tecn N9ne beats.” It seems like a weird comparison, but Busta (and Tech, if we’re being real) can spit over just about anything. Think of both their verses on Tha Carter IV.
OG Spliff and argov – “Twilight Town“
Yes, it’s named after the Kingdom Hearts town. Yes, it has nerdy references out the [you-know-what], down to the visuals being one long trip down memory lane. Yes, I love the song. No, I won’t spoil its content and will implore you to, instead, check it out for yourselves. Yes, I’ll be looking forward to the tape that this track is featured on, whenever it drops. No, I don’t have anything else to say about it.
ADVISS – “Mandrake”
This one grabbed me because it’s pretty alternative hip-hop (and not alternative in the sense that it’s a bunch of autotuned raps–while there’s a time and place for that). A trippy boombap beat allows ADVISS to talk about humanity (and nature) in the digital age. It speaks on the somewhat symbiotic relationship nature has with humanity–and vice versa (and how “nature is affected by the nature of human beings”).
Seal Party – “Maison”
This is an interesting one. It’s song that was written by the group’s Kevin Seal for his son. Why? Simply put, according to the pitch, his son struggled with isolation during early lockdowns. I’m here for this sort of songwriting. It doesn’t hurt that “Maison” is a bluesy trip through trying to make the best of a unique situation (specifically the early lockdowns). I’ve been there, by myself but especially as a parent. That said, while so many of us were able to make it work, I pray to God that we never go back to that era of the pandemic (which seems to, hopefully, finally be becoming more endemic.
Gray – “White Merlot”
I like this one because it reminds me of Bryson Tiller, plain and simple. It blends the trapsoul energies we get from Bryson with a bit of Weeknd and Russ poppier sensibilities. In other words, it’s a solid track that’s perfect for those late night chill sessions with someone who you eventually want to make your main.
And that concludes another Quickies. See you back here later this week with more music. Support these artists’ endeavors and support dope music in all its forms.